One of the rarest and most desirable Superman collectibles ever created
My friend Karl H. was kind enough to submit some pictures of his ultra-rare Syroco Superman figure and ashtray. Karl, a Superman collector since childhood, was given this piece of Superman history by his uncle Ken who found it at a flea market in the early 1970s. As a result of his years of collecting and his great eye for design, Karl has an amazing Superman action figure display, including hundreds of versions of Superman figures and statues from the 40s through the present. He’s also an accomplished writer and cartoonist, and is working on a book called Collector’s Edition: Confessions of a Pop Culture Obsessive Compulsive.
His Superman ashtray shown below was manufactured by the Syracuse Ornament Company (Syroco) in 1942. Syroco was founded in the late 19th century by an Austrian woodcarver named Adolph Holstein. The company made a variety of hand-carved wooden decorative ornamentation for furniture and interior design, but ran into difficulty because the company’s ability to carve was outstripped by demand for their products. As a result, Holstein developed a technique in which original carvings could be copied by compressing a paste made of wood, resin and other materials into a mold. This process allowed his company to manufacture and sell on a larger scale and, in the 1930s and 40s, they expanded their offerings to include figural items like statues and even corkscrews that were often sold as novelties in souvenir shops. Among those figures was this rare Superman figure, which is thought to have been originally manufactured in a quantity of less than 100 as a promotional giveaway to distributors and dealers of DC Comics. Rarer still is the version with the ashtray base, of which fewer than five are known to exist.
Here’s a picture of young Karl showing off his Superman collection at the Lancaster Hobby Show in 1974. Notice that the Syroco figure is the center of his display. Karl notes that he still has most of the items in this picture.
Thanks for sharing the pictures, Karl!
Do you have a rare/interesting/amazing/weird Superman collectible?
Please contact me! I’d love to see it and maybe even share it on Collecting Superman!